What is Sociology?

A student in the Silverman Library.

Sociology is the scientific study of social life. In particular, sociology examines how membership in different groups, and interactions with social structures and social institutions, affect daily life.

Sociologists Ask Tough Questions

Why do women earn less than men? What effect does poverty have on health? How do couples decide who is responsible for household chores? Are married people happier than single people? Why are so many neighborhoods racially segregated? Why do individuals commit crime? How does a prison record affect a person's chances of getting a job? 

These important questions may be difficult to answer, but that is the work of a sociologist. At UB, we investigate a wide variety of social problems and institutions, including family, gender, race, social class, cities/urban areas, law, social policy, crime, health, aging populations, organizations, and the environment. Understanding the impact of these crucial aspects of human life not only prepares students for a wide variety of professional careers, but to become active, enlightened participants in local, national and world affairs.

Why Did You Choose Sociology?

"I knew I wanted to major in a field that examined poverty and social inequalities and would have potential to make a social impact."
– Lori Brok, BA '10

"I chose sociology as I enjoyed the central questions at the heart of [the discipline] that allowed me to dive into the context surrounding decisions, rather than the decisions themselves." – Karen E., BA '11